Parts of the UKs ‘big society’ currently seem preoccupied at stifling the aspirations (and lowering the expectations) of our maturing generations. Whilst institutions, and leaders in influential positions, should be promoting positive messages about what can be achieved through cohesion, hard work, and personal development, the largest narrative coming through from those we are asked to look up to is that the younger generation have ‘no future’. Brexit will destroy our economy (unless we have a financial meltdown or nuclear war first), our jobs will be automated and Simon Cowell will be prime minister.
Just as the punks rebelled against a similar ‘no future’ message in the 70s by promoting equality, diversity, and individualism, a small collection of North Eastern bands are doing the same at the moment; their future will not be dictated to them and they will not live in fear.
Launching their EP ‘Nothing to write home about’ Picnic are one of those bands that set a fine example for us all to follow. Multi national, multi-gender and multi-genre Picnic dare to be ambitious and to write songs about the joys of youth.
Opener ‘Bill will you Murray me?’ is the strongest track of the evening; musically adventurous, and underpinned by tight 6-piece musical interplays, it builds a strong foundation for powerful, soulful, vocals from vocalist Robyn Walker who weaves in and out of the main melody line. Walker has a voice to show off, and the band help her to do so.
Musically the show is interesting in its range of different sounds. Parts funk, parts ‘Chic’ disco groove, parts Gypsy folk, parts ‘soul rebel’ era Dexys, Picnic, perhaps the reason for their name, have a little of everything. And everything is worth listening to.
If tonight is a sign of where the band are heading; adventurous, challenging, slightly reckless, then they’ll do well. No future? We’ll see about that.